Whether you’re just setting out or considering a career change after working in another industry, becoming an electrician is wise. Even at the lowest points of the various economic crises and recessions over the past fifty years, new housebuilding has never dropped below 100,000 units annually in the UK. Home-owners and businesses alike will always need electricians.
Routes into the Career: Apprenticeships
If you’re serious about building a career as an electrician, you’ll have to spend years learning the trade, building contacts and getting plenty of experience. Young people may find that an apprenticeship offers the best route into the career for them. Your eventual aim is to get the Level 3 NVQ and the Electrical Competence Card. With an apprenticeship, you’ll work part-time for an electrician gaining vital on-the-job skills and spend the rest of your time studying at college.
The NVQ requires that you gain experience in all types of electrical work. As you complete each one as an apprentice, it’ll be ticked off. Finding an electrician to work with who’ll be able to give you the wide variety of jobs required can be a challenge, and you should expect the process to take 3-4 years. This route also requires you to start studying at Level 3, which can be difficult for some.
For those looking to change career, an apprenticeship may not be attractive. Without any industry contacts to provide work placements, the best option is to begin studying for Level 2 and 3 Diplomas in electrical work. Once you have these qualifications, you can then find an entry-level job in the industry and use the experience to tick off the jobs required for the full NVQ.
This feature of the NVQ is perhaps the most testing aspect of becoming an electrician – you cannot qualify until you have the full experience required, which extends from home installations to handling electrical control components. Be prepared to work for lower wages than your qualified counterparts. You’ll move equipment and talk to clients and suppliers, including Osmelectrical electrical control components supplier, and everything else besides doing the actual wiring.
Embarking on a new career is scary and exciting, but the job opportunities and contacts you’ll get from this initial work will put you in good stead for years to come.